676Published on March 20, 2023
Pakistan was born after India was divided into two parts following the liberation from British rule. But the Bangalis of East Pakistan faced new exploitation by the ruling group of West Pakistan.
At that time, the whole nation was led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Agartala Conspiracy Case was filed against him in 1968 for seeking independence. Bangabandhu was not allowed to form a government even after winning the election of 1969.
On the contrary, the then-West Pakistan military government tried to portray him as a “traitor.” But through the Liberation War of 1971, Bangabandhu took a firm position in history as a great patriot forever.
Even his erstwhile enemies were forced to acknowledge his patriotism.
The issue comes up in the memoir of Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik, a former officer of Pakistan (Balochistan) who participated in the war against Bangalis in 1971.
He wrote: “In fact Mujib was not a traitor (although he was portrayed as such in Pakistan). He was a great patriot for his people.”
Not only Malik, then spokesman for Pakistani junta Major Siddique Salik also praised Bangabandhu's leadership.
In the book “Pakistani Instrument of Surrender” he wrote: “After Bangabandhu's speech (the March 7 speech) at the Race Course Maidan, people flocked from their homes. They looked like they were coming out of a mosque or church after hearing a message of hope.”
What about Pakistani politicians of that time?
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in his book “The Great Tragedy,” published in Karachi in September 1971, when the war was approaching its finale, said: “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was absolutely uncompromising on the 6-point question after winning the election. Even if Pakistan was divided, he had no objection. This is how the architect of independent Bangladesh moved from the title of 'traitor' to 'great patriot.'”
Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who fought for Bangladesh against Pakistan, also described Bangabandhu as a patriotic leader.
Pranab Mukherjee wrote in the visitors' book at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on Dhanmondi 32 on March 4, 2013: “Bangabandhu was the leader of the people and made the supreme sacrifice in their service. The title of Bangabandhu reflects the deep love of the people of the country for this patriotic leader.”
Manmohan Singh wrote in the same book when he visited Bangladesh: “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the people in the Liberation War through his infinite courage.”
Sonia Gandhi, former president of the Indian National Congress, which was in power during the Liberation War, commented: “I pay respect to a visionary leader and statesman, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He fought for freedom with unflinching courage despite the odds and adverse conditions.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum wrote in the visitors' book: “Bangabandhu is a burning inspiration in the minds of every freedom-loving, mother-tongue-loving people of this subcontinent. He was the chief commander of the Liberation War and the architect and father of independent Bangladesh… He is that rare leader to whom all people, irrespective of creed, are blessed to hail.”
Former foreign minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kadirgamar on a visit to Bangladesh said: “In the last few centuries, South Asia has given the world many teachers, philosophers, skilled statesmen, political leaders and warriors. But Sheikh Mujibur Rahman surpasses everything; his place is fixed in the highest position.”
Beyond Asia, the light of Bangabandhu's leadership spread from Europe to Latin America. Even the legendary 20th-century Cuban revolutionary leader late Fidel Castro compared Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Himalayas.
Bangabandhu has also been described in the world media as a “symbol of freedom” or a “musician of politics.” Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was selected as the greatest Bangali of all time in a BBC poll.
Bangabandhu was awarded the Joliot Curie award given by the World Peace Council for his contribution to the continuous struggle for equality, friendship, freedom, democracy and world peace.
Born on March 17, 1920, the great leader was brutally killed along with his family by some misguided soldiers on August 15, 1975.
Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune